With a quarter of all Welsh people living in relative poverty, costing the Welsh public purse more than £3 billion a year, Lord Bird today demanded an end to the period of just talking about poverty, arguing it’s time to move on to the “period of delivering”.
Lord Bird joined Sophie Howe, the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, in speaking at ‘Prevention and Inclusion: Lessons for tackling poverty’, an event organised by Welsh think tank Bevan Foundation and The Big Issue Cymru.
Lord Bird praised the Bevan Foundation’s all-encompassing plans to cut the poverty rate in Wales to just 10 per cent by 2030 and ensure no one is ever destitute. He also publicly expressed his support for the Well-being of Future Generations Act, calling on a replication of the Act in England.
Lord Bird said: “It’s been brilliant to be in Cardiff to help spark a national dialogue about the ways we can work together to tackle poverty. I am delighted to see the Bevan Foundation taking such a thorough approach to understanding and solving the root causes of poverty in Wales, which are ever-present and eating away at our society.”
“Poverty must be dismantled, not just alleviated.” Powerful words from @johnbirdswords today about how #PreventionWorks at Prevention and Inclusion: Lessons for tackling poverty, with @BevanFoundation in Cardiff pic.twitter.com/5Emb9SxtLd
— The Big Issue (@BigIssue) April 19, 2018
Howe added: “Poverty should never be considered an inevitability – the principles within the Future Generations Act around acting to prevent problems, thinking in an integrated way, working with others and involving people in finding solutions holds the key to tackling many of our most challenging long terms problems and can allow us to construct a future where poverty is a thing of the past.”
The Bevan Foundation has already taken steps to tackle the issue of poverty in Wales by putting long-term prosperity on the Welsh agenda and securing growth hubs in the Valleys. Last month, at the National Assembly for Wales Senedd, it launched the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s new report ‘Poverty in Wales’, which highlighted that poverty rates in Wales are higher than in other parts of the UK. The situation is expected to get worse, with child poverty predicted to reach 40 per cent by 2021.
Main image: David Wagstaffe